Pacific Garbage Screening Will Remove Tons of Plastic Waste from the Ocean
August 10, 2017 by Annika Flatley Categories: Environmental Protection
A German architect has designed a contraption to freeze the wastewater: his floating platform wants to filter out of the water.
It looks like a giant comb and could save our oceans – the Pacific Garbage Screening (PGS). Though the device is still in development, the idea is a promising one. PGS is a giant floating platform that can filter wastewater from the oceans through its innovative design. Removing this garbage from the ocean would further save the lives of thousands of sea creatures, since fish, mammals, and birds are always at risk due to tangling or ingestion.
How Pacific Garbage Screening Works
Plastic does not float on the ocean’s surface – it’s just below the waves. Ocean currents and turnovers pull plastic underwater, the majority of which can be found in the first 175 feet under the surface. Without currents, the plastic would float on the surface just as it does in a swimming pool, since plastic is lighter than water.
The PGS platform is designed as a way to calm these currents, returning the underwater plastic to the surface. 115-foot-long “keels” under the contraception form a kid over 3.5 football fields in length.
“Marcella Hansch, the project’s creator” explained “Water flows through the canal system”. The plastic then rises to the surface due to its own buoyancy and can be skimmed out of the ocean.
Channel systems under the platform soothe the flow (picture: © Pacific Garbage Screening)
“Based on our initial calculations, we know the principle works,” Hansch said. The PGS project was her architecture master’s thesis. Since designing the device itself four years ago, here is the support team of a 15-person team of volunteers.
The biggest advantage of this compared with similar projects? “The system requires no screens, or filter systems that could be dangerous to marine life,” Hansch said. Plastic waste can simply be collected from the surface of the water.
On Duty in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Global ocean currents have garbage to collect in five giant trash vortexes on the open seas. In the Pacific, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – one of those trash vortexes – has collected at extreme amount of plastic waste. PGS could be put to work in search hotspots to remove garbage from the oceans.
The platform wants to be about 400 to 400 meters wide. (Image: © Pacific Garbage Screening)
The platform can take advantage of natural ocean currents to increase efficacy. With a total surface area of 13 football fields, it could be anchored to the ocean floor to work non-stop in such trouble spots. The anchor would position itself the front of the platform, ensuring the construction was always optimally oriented towards the current.
The rear of the PGS houses the engine room, storage, and living quarters for crew. The inventor also envisions the platform functioning as a research station.
From Waste to New Resources
Ocean plastics are weakened by salt water and can not be recycled. Hansch and her team have conceived another use: they want to convert this waste to hydrogen and carbon dioxide by means of the so-called plasma gasification process. The resulting hydrogen can be used for fuel cells which can power the entire operation.
The carbon dioxide could be cultivated on the surface of the water inside the contraption. This algae biomass could be the raw material for biodegradable algal plastics, thus closing the resource loop. “These final steps still require further research,” said Hansch.
Highly Symbolic Project
The PGS platform does not want to go swimming anytime soon – the project is still looking for an investor. The nonprofit organization supporting the PGS hopes to finance the necessary research, pilot projects, and construction of original prototypes via a combination of research grants, crowdfunding, and donations.
The contraption addresses all aspects of the problem of garbage in our oceans – from the water to its processing to the production of an internal friendlier material. Even if the details remain a bit hazy, the approach anistic approach makes the project exciting and hopefully viable – future alternative.
Translated by Hilary Bown
Here you can find the German version of the article The Pacific Garbage Screening is to collect tons of plastic waste from the seas
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